President Donald Trump started yesterday’s presser with a presentation about a new executive order he signed about infrastructure reform. However, he allowed the subject to veer into Charlottesville, something that still vexes both him and the media. The distraction has caused a firestorm on both the television media and social media. What did he say and what was so wrong about it?

Trump suggests that fault resides on all sides for the riot

The president suggested that blame for the violence rested with all sides for the Charlottesville riot, something that the ACLU, not Trump’s biggest fan, agrees with.

Both the Coalition of Neo Nazis, Klansmen, and white nationalists and the Antifa terrorists brawled in the streets as the police mainly watched passively on.

The observation has set people off with the hot take that somehow the president defended Nazis and racists, which he did not. The meme that the Antifa were somehow a combination of the freedom riders and the men who stormed Normandy was a common one.

Trump wonders where the destruction of Confederate monuments end

The other thing that Trump said that had set the media ablaze was to wonder where the drive to destroy. Confederate monuments will end. Will we destroy the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial because both men are slaveholders?

The suggestion is not a frivolous one. A group of left-wing activists has demanded that a statue of Teddy Roosevelt be taken down because he was a “racist.” The statute required a police guard to keep it from being demolished by a mob.

Trump’s mistake

President Trump’s big mistake was to allow the presser to diverge from an issue for which he has lots of expertise and credibility to one that he cannot win on.

Infrastructure reform is one of the president’s signature issues, one that promises to create tens of thousands of jobs and improve the lives of all Americans. The events in Charlottesville constitute a political mine field, which the president stepped into.

To paraphrase the old joke, President Trump has the right to keep silent; he just lacks the capacity.

Clearly, the media meme about Charlottesville and his relationship to it bugs him. However, the best strategy would be to allow the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation, which should be far ranging, to run its course and to just shut his mouth about it.

The irony is that over the long term, none of this matters. People who hate Trump will still be convinced that he is a racist and a Nazi-sympathizer. Individuals who love him will adore how he beat up on the media. As Victor Davis Hanson suggests, if the economy is humming along at three percent growth and unemployment remains around four percent, Trump will be reelected no matter what he says. Most people will judge him on deeds, not words.